Kool Out recently caught up with young & creative poet/rapper Thembi Molaba better known as Nuhtkayz.
Born in the small town of Harrismith, Nuhtkayz showed an interest for the arts in her early years of school, excelling in languages and exploring her affinity for poetry and music. Now a creative entrepreneur, lyricist & copywriter we sat down with this spunky haired talent to discuss her journey in music, her mixtape, being a woman in the industry & her future.
Whats good Nuhtkayz? First off thank you for joining & giving us the time to sit down with you. Please introduce yourself to the masses.
Hey wooorld! I am Thembi, I’m a copywriter & lyricist. When I write and when on stage I transform into Nuhtkayz, she is my truth; my purpose; my voice; my mind & my creativity. Communicating is my art!
Kool!!! So give us the 411? When did it all start for you?
I was always the imaginative kid growing up. writing allowed me to live in my head and taught me a lot about myself. I can create alternate spaces and exist in them, I can liberate myself mentally and I can create energy at will.
You studied politics in University but then switched over to major in visual arts and film. What brought on this change?
I initially thought combining languages with politics would be beneficial for going into a career in journalism, but after a while I discovered that wasn’t the road I really wanted to take.
What made you pick up poetry?
I guess I’ve always been drawn to the medium as a person who was into writing, I found it liberating and therapeutic
“It is important for us to still hear our voices speak or else we silence generations of wealth, knowledge, stories and experiences”
You have since become an accomplished poet & have performed on many poetry platforms. How important is poetry still in the industry today & do you still perform within the poetry circles?
It is important for us to still hear our voices speak or else we silence generations and generations of wealth, knowledge, stories and experiences. Since working, I’ve stopped attending open mics but I’ll never stop writing. The one thing that will out live us all – our work.
How did you find the transition from poetry to becoming a recording artist?
Liberating, I got to tap into spaces I previously couldn’t. Playback is power, it lives forever and reaches further than one recital does.
You released your first project “Schematic Chemistry” a few years back. What was it like recording your first mixtape & hearing the end product & how was it received by your peers?
There wasn’t much of a demand for what I was doing back then, I got my moment when Kanif from Iapetus gave me props and when Yugen Blakrok gave me a shout out on stage in Linden. It was small but sentimental to me, an arriving moment of sorts.
“People are quick to dismiss women in this industry, because of that ‘whack untill proven dope’ mentality”
What has been the toughest challenges that you have faced as a female recording artist in the industry?
People are quick to dismiss women in this industry, as if your contribution is much less than that of the man. People expect so little from women, doors get slammed in your face all the time because of that ‘whack untill proven dope’ mentality.
You have a blog that also has transformed into a printed publication, tell us more & what its about?
With that I was pretty much experimenting. A lot of it was portfolio work when I was interning as a digital copywriter. The idea behind it was using music for creating these 3 minute trips and adventures for the listener, I turned it into a mini mag that readers can subscribe to now and get the good stuff every month so it’s really exciting.
This year you released your 2nd project the “Deity Speak Mixtape” that you worked on with renowned producers Kaniff of Iapetus Records & SA Hip Hop vet Gemini of Cashless Society. How did that relationship come about?
Kanif and I knew each other from back when I was still a student, I’d always put some of my work out on the web and he’d see the material and give me feedback. He’s always welcomed me with open arms and has looked out for me in the realest of ways I’ll never forget him. Gemini we crossed paths and magic happened, there really is no other way of putting it.
“The best moment was the reception I was getting from people, I’d sit there and think … is this really all me? It’s magical shit”
Take us through the process of the Deity Speak Mixtape. What were your biggest challenges & best moments while putting the project together?
Funding was one of the biggest challenges, I had such big ideas and such cool and interactive ways of getting the work out there but funding was always an issue. I had so much I wanted to do with the project. The best moment was the reception I was getting from people who’d taken the time to get through the work I’d sit there and think … is this really all me? It’s magical shit!
What would you say is your favourite track from the mixtape & why?
Soldier on because there’s a personal story behind it and it has that old skool hip hop vibe that I really dig, so if anything I’d say it’s a defining track on the project.
Any local artist’s your keen to work with in the future?
The Buttress, Rouge, Yugen Blakrok and I don’t know who else I’m forgetting, yea them too.
You were apart of the #BackToTheArtist campaign by Jagermeister. What is the campaign about & what does it do for the artist?
It is basically a competition, artists submit their work. People vote for the stuff they mess with. There are 4 rounds and the winner walks away with a music video. a feature with either Rouge, Kid X or Dj Maphorisa and they you join the Jagermeister music programme that runs for a year. Voting has closed though…
“We grow up in misogynistic communities and make excuses for such behaviours because it’s being done by our brothers, uncles and fathers”
As a female artist & with all the stories of woman abuse spreading throughout the country, how can you as a voice within the industry help spread awareness & light to those on what has become a dark & scary time for all females in South Africa?
What’s going on right now is only a reflection of years and years of gendered socialisation. We grow up in misogynistic communities and make excuses for such behaviours because it’s being done by our brothers, uncles and fathers. We protect them until we are victims of this social poison. We see it in our Hip Hop, South Africa has never truly loved its women it despises them deeply.
What can we expect from Nuhtkayz in the future?
I don’t want to jinx any of the cool shit about to go on in the future by speaking about it too soon, so let’s hope that by the next time we speak everything I’ve been working on securing would be official so I can speak about it.
“Live your truth, this is a shit industry be in it for the right reasons”
What advise would you give to a fellow up & coming female artist today?
Live your truth, this is a shit industry be in it for the right reasons cos half of the battles you’re going to fight won’t even be worth it if it’s not your truth, don’t put yourself through all the hell.
Thank you Nuhtkayz for Koolin Out with us. Famous last words?
Thank you for the platform to speak and share. Going to send you a copy of the mini mag so you can check that stuff out. People can hit me up on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook under Nuhtkayz & check out my blog on www.nuhtkayz.blogspot.com. PEACE!
Stream Nuhtkayz “Deity Speak” mixtape below.